22 Hikers at Val David
The drive up the Laurentian Autoroute on Sun morning was a sight to behold. The bright sun was shining down on the snow-covered trees of the rolling hills. Any camera shot would have made a great photo for a Christmas card.
The chalet in Val David for the Dufresne regional park is only a one hour drive from Dorval. Within a few minutes of 10 a.m., 22 eager beavers (as well as determined dogs Chinook and Lulu) had arrived and were getting ready to take on the trails. The skies were sunny and it was about 0 C. It took a few minutes for everyone to get their trail tickets and then take the group photo. Finally, at 10:40 a.m., we set off with our master navigator in the lead.
We took the D trail and then took a left on the E. We began to climb and soon reached our first lookout on Mont Condor Ouest. But we were just getting warmed up, so we did not pause long and soon we were descending on the 11 and 7 trails. We then took the F trail along the base of the rock climbing wall and made the steep climb up to the first lookout at Mont King. We then continued to the second lookout where the gang of us crowded into the small clearing to have snacks/lunch.
After a 15-minute break, we proceeded down the other side until we reached a junction of trails familiar to all of us who have skied the trails of Far Hills. There was a debate as to whether we should extend the walk by taking a loop on trail 5, but it seemed that people were eager to get back for trick or treating, and the consensus was to take the most direct way back. That meant taking trail 7 all the way down to the P’tit train du Nord, and the back another km to the starting point. We got back at 1:30 pm, so less than three hours on the trails.
There were divergent results from the three GPS devices within group as to how much distance we had covered. We had results of 7.5, 8.4 and 8.8 km. But the master navigator’s unit said 8.8 km, so we went with that.
When it came time to find a place for the ritual post-hike coffee, it turned out that one of those three GPS devices had an app dedicated to finding the nearest Timmies. Much to everyone’s surprise, it informed us that there was a nice Tims only 2 km away, a bit further north on the 117. This was crucial information that the so-called “master” navigator’s GPS was not able to provide us. For shame!